|April 7, 2004
Trade agreement with EU welcomed
South Africa has welcomed the completion of ratification procedures of the Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA) by the European Union (EU) member states. The government said the move heralded a new era in the relations between South Africa and the EU. This follows the EU-South Africa ministerial meeting held in Dublin between South Africa, Ireland, Netherlands and the European Commission for Development and Humanitarian Affairs. Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma attended the meeting while the EU Troika comprised Ireland's Foreign Affairs Minister Brian Cowen, The Netherland's Minister for Development Cooperation Agnes van Ardenne and member EU Commission, Poul Nielson. South Africa's foreign affairs department said the ministers appreciated the positive results emanating from the provisional application of the TDCA, which had resulted in a 50 percent growth in trade between the country and the EU.
"South Africa reiterated its confidence that the enlargement of the EU would strengthen and deepen the already excellent relations between South Africa and the EU," said spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa. This view was reinforced by the fact that both South Africa and the acceding states would find immediate mutual benefits in terms of increased trade, strengthened political dialogue and increased scientific exchanges within the framework of the TDCA. South Africa also urged the EU to maintain its support to Africa in the fight against poverty and associated ills. The country also expressed appreciation and gratitude to the EU for their active support and financial contributions towards the Ten Years of Democracy Celebrations regarded as a successful consolidation of democracy. (Bua News, Pretoria)